University of Virginia School of Nursing
The School's LGBTQ+ conference "offers clinicians a chance to have open, honest dialogue about issues that medical and nursing schools often don't touch," says White. "No topic will be off-limits."

Should clinicians caring for a transgender male patient bring up pelvic exams and routine mammograms?

For transgender women of middle age, are prostate checks routine?

For lesbians in committed relationships, are STDs an issue?

And should gay men receive an anal smear each year?

For some clinicians, LGBTQ health may feel like a foreign land. It’s why UVA Nursing’s first-ever LGBTQ symposium—May 10 at Charlottesville’s Boars Head Inn—aims to fill in knowledge gaps with practical information, arm doctors and nurses with thoughtful, inclusive language, and speak frankly about, well, speaking frankly.

For some, it’s a chance to understand the specific health risks and concerns experienced by LGBTQ+ populations. Lesbians, for instance, are more likely to develop breast cancer than other women because they are less likely to undergo routine screenings, such as Pap tests and mammograms. While nearly 18 percent of straight adults experience violence at the hands of a partner, between 47 and 56 percent of gay and bisexual adults experience intimate partner violence. And according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, LGBTQ+ youngsters are two to three times more likely than their straight peers to attempt suicide.

And discomfort among even nascent practitioners is common. A 2015 National Institutes of Health study found that 80 percent of first-year medical students expressed some form of bias against lesbians and gay men.

“There’s a true dearth of practical information for clinicians caring for people from this population,” explains Kenneth R. White, associate dean for strategic partnerships and innovation at UVA Nursing, chairman of the American College of Healthcare Executives’ LGBT Forum, and a gay man himself, “and this conference not only fills a need, it quenches a thirst for conversation and information about LGBTQ communities, and how best to care for them. Our ultimate aim is to have honest, open dialogue about issues that in medical and nursing school don’t often see the light of day. No topic will be off limits.”

The day-long symposium—for nurses, physicians, administrators, students, and public health officials—will introduce LGBTQ+ terminology and language, offer first-person narratives from LGBTQ+ patients, and review current best organizational practices for LGBTQ+ patients, employees, physicians, volunteers. Through round table discussions and breakout sessions, it offers an intimate examination of specific best practices that address the LGBTQ+ healthcare needs.

In addition to White and colleagues from UVA’s Schools of Nursing and Medicine, guest faculty include Kimberly Acquaviva, professor of nursing at George Washington University, who will offer an afternoon keynote on “Transforming Professional Practice,” and Tari Hanneman of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization in the U.S., who will lecture about overseeing HRC’s Healthcare Quality Index, an annual benchmarking tool that evaluates policies and standards related to equity and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients, visitors, and employees. Amy-Sarah Marshall, founder of the C’ville Pride Community Network, and Susan Kools, the Jones Professor of Nursing and the associate dean for inclusion and diversity, are also among the organizers.

UVA’s Talbott Professor, Tommy Dickinson, of the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing at King’s College in London—author of Curing Queers: Mental nurses and their patients, 1935-74—will deliver an afternoon address focused on a history of LGBTQ+ healthcare and its outlook for the future.


Embracing Inclusion & Diversity in Caring for the Whole Person
2018 LGBTQ+ Health Care Symposium
Thursday, May 10, 2018
7 AM to 5 PM
Boar's Head Inn, Charlottesville


The University of Virginia School of Nursing Continuing Education is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. The UVA School of Nursing Continuing Education awards 7.5 contact hours for nurses who participated in this educational activity and complete the post-activity evaluation.

The University of Virginia School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 7.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The University of Virginia School of Medicine awards 7.5 hours of participation equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits to each non-physician participant who successfully completes this educational activity, The University of Virginia School of Medicine maintains a record of participation for six years.